The Difficulty of English- Indian Friendship in "A Passage to India"

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In his "A Passage to India", Forster explores the possibility of English-Indian Friendship. He begins and ends by posing the question of whether it is possible for an Englishman and an Indian to ever be friends, at least within the context of British colonialism.

Thus, as soon as the novel opens, the reader is introduced to an argument, between Mahmoud Ali, Hamidullah, and, Aziz raising this English-Indian-friendship question. The argument is quite significant because it sets the tone of the novel and introduces the different Indian attitudes towards the issue. For instance, Mahmoud Ali, who has known the English only in India, claims that such friendship is impossible. Educated at Cambridge, Hamidullah says that it is possible to have such friendship only in England, because the English change when they live in India: "They all become exactly the same-- not worse, not better. I give any Englishman two years, be he Turton or Burton.

It is only a difference of a letter. And I give any Englishwoman six months." Aziz, on the other hand, has an indifferent scornful attitude towards the argument: "Why be either friends with the fellows or not friends? Let us shut them out and be jolly."Forster uses personal relationships between Mrs. Moore and Adela, and the Indians to examine the theme of friendship between Englishwomen and Indians. Adela and Mrs. Moore question the standard behaviors of the English towards the Indians and try to connect with the Indians at the Bridge Party and at Fielding's afternoon tea. However, Mrs. Moore's curiosity to see the 'real India' is, unlike that of Adela's, bolstered by a genuine affection for Indians. Thus, Mrs. Moore breaks the distrust that Forster initially establishes towards all Englishwomen, through her tenderness towards Aziz, who calls her an 'Oriental.' Her genuine kindness maintains her...